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Trainee lawyers are finding life increasingly difficult, according to the Trainee Solicitors' Group (TSG).
Statistics published by the TSG at the end of October show the number of calls made to its helpline jumped by 13 per cent. A total of 2,241 calls were received between March 2004 and March 2005, averaging 187 a month.
TSG chair Peter Wright said: "Regrettably, there is a pattern of abuse that occurs towards trainees within firms." A greater awareness of the helpline, which is now mentioned in some training courses, and individuals realising that certain behaviour is not acceptable, has been the catalyst.
Twenty-six per cent of callers said they were being bullied, bribed or harassed, and some even suffered from sexual harassment. However, around 50 per cent of calls were from trainees seeking confidential careers advice.
Wright said: "One student phoned and complained they only made tea and that they were the office gofer. The point of the training course is that you learn so that when you leave you have a vague idea of what you are doing."